Finished: Sophia Carry-All

Internet, I do apologize for the several days’ neglect. I shall work harder in the future. I was busily sewing to forget that again this week, I am alone in my house.

Lovely bag. I’m a confirmed Amy Butler addict, I do believe I have all of her home dec and bag patterns. I teach a monthly day-long A.B. bag class, this one is for April. I used (brand new) cotton clothesline for the big chunky piping, and did not pipe the bottom of the bag as per the PR consensus. PR also warned me that the end pieces are cut too long; PR was right. I had some awkward trimming to do, I am afraid I trimmed rather too much in my attempt to get it straight.

Amy, your fabric requirements are crazy. Admittedly, I find the older the bag pattern, the less wasteful the cutting layout and this one isn’t too bad. Part of what I do is to figure out the fabric req’s:

  • Exterior fabric 1- .8m
  • Exterior fabric 2- .5m
  • Lining- 1.5m
  • Heavy fusible fleece (Pellon 640)- .4 m
  • Light fusible fleece (Pellon 630)- .2m
  • Extra heavy weight fusible non-woven interfacing- .5m
  • Medium shirt tailor interfacing
  • 17″ wide fusible vinyl (Thermobond)- 2m

I know that seems a lot of different materials. I fused the vinyl to all the exterior pieces except the piping.

I only used the shirt tailor interfacing in the top zippered panel where I didn’t use pellon or the extra heavy interfacing. I thought it should be softer and more flexible.

I used the light Pellon for the handles.

For the rest of the pieces, I fused the vinyl to the right side of the fabric, then fused the Pellon to the wrong side, then one layer of extra heavy on top of the Pellon. I fused an extra layer of heavy interfacing to the bag bottom.

All top-stitching was done first with a regular straight stitch in order to make sure I had placement right, then I went back over it with mechanized cotton top stitch thread (Presencia), using a triple stitch. It is usually used for knits, or for reinforced seams, and it also makes a lovely strong top stitch.

As for the vinyl, I think I might use it again. I like the general idea of it, but it is kind of funny to handle. For one, you can not press it with just your iron. Obviously. You need to save a scrap of the paper backing to use to protect the vinyl surface when you iron. I don’t know about you, but I viciously and aggressively press and iron bags so they reach their full potential. That was tricky with this bag because of the vinyl.

The vinyl also didn’t want to feed through the machine, but I solved that with the aid of glide plates, these little teflon stickers that you can put on the bottom of your regular machine foot.

The vinyl also took pinmarks something shocking. I solved that by pinning in the seam allowances, and also by pressing out the pinmarks. That works well enough. A few times during my aggressive pressing, the iron would stray off the paper and burn a hole in the vinyl. I discovered these areas are easily patched with scrap vinyl and the patch is indistinguishable.

And finally, the top section of the bag seems rather “crinkly” to me. I’m not sure exactly how I feel about the vinyl, I think I’ll put it out there as an option in the class but won’t require it.

I love the finished bag, even though the fabric slightly offends my taste. It’s for work, it is meant to be eye-catching, so that’s all fine. I used a long chunky plastic zipper in a coordinating color even though it was a “Separating” zip. I’ve read several reviews and blog entries about how hard it is to find zips for this bag (and the Weekender), but it really isn’t if you allow yourself to buy a separating zipper. It isn’t going to separate once you have it sewn in and bar-tacked at either end of the zipper. Really. So just use a separating zipper, it really opens up more options.

I need to make a coordinating Weekender for this one, I’m doing them as a companion series. I won’t be doing that class til May, so I think my next bag will be a Sophia for me:

I’d cut it with a big, perfect Poppy on one side, and maybe one of the wilting ones on the other side. No exterior vinyl, though I may use the vinyl on the inside because I intend using the bag as a cosmetics tote. Please, lets not get into the subject of how much product I use. Not now.

I’d use the crackled orange for piping and maybe handles, and the stripes for the top panel, with the stripes parallel to the zipper. I’d turn the stripes horizontally for the end pieces. I’m not sure what I’d use for the handles, my instinct says the orange, but I think it would blend too much. The handles should be striped? Or maybe the darker blue? I was thinking to line it with blue.


  1. I tell you, I LOVE that bag! It is beautiful. I have that pattern, and the Weekender, both unmade. I want to make them as a set also. Thank you for your take on the Sophia. I value your opinion and will bookmark this page for reference. Oh, and I love that poppy fabric!

  2. Great bag! I'm not an Amy Butler-ette, but it is still fab!The poppy fabric is gorgeous! How does it handle? Personally, I would pair it with fabric with crisp stripes, rather than the messier, more organic stripes that you have matched with it, but that is just me. I dislike disorganisation in fabric!

  3. Pingback: Finished Object: Vanquished Lotus (or "Sex Candy") « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

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